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Boeing says US OK's sale of plane parts to Iran

CHICAGO (AP) -- Boeing Co. said Friday that it received U.S. government approval to export certain spare parts for commercial airplanes to Iran.

A Boeing spokesman said that the parts were needed to ensure safe flight, but he declined to describe them further or put a dollar amount on them.

The spokesman, Marc Birtel, said Boeing's last delivery to Iran was a 747-100 jumbo jet in August 1979 _ three months before American hostages were seized at the U.S. embassy in Tehran.

Birtel said Boeing got a license from the U.S. Treasury Department to export the spare parts under a temporary agreement that Secretary of State John Kerry reached with the Iranians late last year.

Officials at the Treasury Department, which oversees sanctions against Iran, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The U.S. and other countries reached an interim agreement in which Iran agreed to halt progress on its nuclear program in exchange for an easing of international sanctions that have squeezed its economy. Iran got access to parts for civilian aircraft and cars, medical supplies and other goods, senior U.S. officials said in January. The deal would run six months while both sides negotiate a permanent agreement.

President Barack Obama has warned that if companies try to do business with Iran in violation of sanctions, the U.S. would come down on them “like a ton of bricks.”

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